The annual cost of operating a container ship rose 3.1 percent in 2011, mainly because of rising wages for crews and higher repair and maintenance costs, according to international accountant and shipping consultant Moore Stephens.
In its OPCost 2012 report, Moore Stephens reports that the benchmarking operating costs of operating ships for the three main tonnage sectors covered — bulkers, tankers and container ships — were up in 2011 by an average of 2.1 percent, compared to the 2.2 percent rise in 2010.
Crew costs were the main reason for the overall increase in 2011, rising 3.3 percent overall in 2011, while the cost of insurance fell for the second consecutive year.
For container ships, the increased spending on crew averaged 3.4 percent, compared with an increase of 2.9 percent in 2010. Smaller container ships with capacities under 1,000 20-foot-equivalent units paid 3.9 percent more to their crews than in 2010.
In the container ship sector, bigger vessels of between 2,000 and 6,000 TEUs spent 4.4 percent more on repairs and maintenance. Container ships up to 1,000 TEUs, meanwhile, spent 3.2 percent more, and the increase in the cost of repairs and maintenance expenditure for ships between 1,000 and 2,000 TEUs was 1.5 percent.
Expenditure on insurance in 2011 dipped by 1.5 percent, following a 4.7 percent fall in 2010. But, for container ships, the picture was mixed. The larger vessel operators paid 0.7 percent less for their insurance in 2011, while operators of smaller container ships paid 3.5 percent more.